Combining council depots ‘will save money’

GOING: The Dossie St depot would also be sold , under the plan.UNITING all council depots in the one building is estimated to save $310,000 annually.

Not only will it improve resource sharing and centralise equipment use, it will bring together all operations staff at the one location, senior staff say.

But the total project, slated for completion by October, will come at an upfront cost of $3,280,000 The council had allocated $1 million in the 2015/16 budget for the work.

“The scope of work has since been expanded and more clearly defined to capitalise on the potential benefits,” operations director Matt O’Rourke reported to Tuesday’s council meeting.

Plans have already been drawn up for the Hetherington St depot’s expansion.

The overall project involves relocating staff and plant from the Bourke and Dossie St depots to Hetherington St.

GOING: The Dossie St depot would also be sold , under the plan.

Those buildings and 4000 sqm of surplus land at the pipe yard in River St would be sold off, for an estimated $1.8m.

All operations staff currently at the Civic Centre would shift to Hetherington St.

Mr O’Rourke said this would improve communication, enhance productivity and reduce travel time between the two sites.

He estimated $20,000 in productivity gains annually as a result.

“This will also free up the top floor of the Civic Centre’s northwestern wing for other use,” Mr O’Rourke said.

Other benefits included: – Reduced operating costs through running one depot – estimated at $150,000 annually; – Improved staff resource sharing – across work sites and between supervisors located at the one site; – Skill development and greater mobility between teams, potentially saving $65,000 annually on traffic control; – Centralised management of large and small plant – estimated annual saving – $95,000; – A central store for work crews to pick up supplies; – Centralised and ‘contemporary’ records storage in a new warehouse at Hetherington St.

Redevelopment costs are expected to be $2.4m.

The council will also pay $480,000 for additional land at Hetherington St, partly to relocate the RFS shed, fork out $300,000 to shift the shed and $100,000 in subdivision expenses for the purchased block, bringing the total to $3,280,000. The project would be funded through $2.1m in land sales, comprising three lots sold off from the land purchase, and the ‘surplus’ depots; $700,000 from council land recently sold at Sowerby St; $150,000 already allocated; and $330,000 in uncommitted money from previous land sales.

The council will have to lodge a development application to move the RFS shed. The new depot also requires a DA.

At Tuesday’s meeting, councillors decided to establish an independent hearing and assessment panel to assess the application.

It will comprise a planning expert and a community representative with local government experience. The mayor and general manager have authority to appoint the members.

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